In my former workplace was Judy S, one of the four video producer/directors in the unit when I signed on there.  I liked Judy quite a bit, though she was generally considered a pain, and knew it, for her wanton refusal to stray from ‘procedure’.

Judy dabbled in little theatre, and passed along to me once that someone experienced in amateur thespiana told her she was the kind of cast member who was scary, because her reading of her lines was always perfect.

Explanation: that should another member of the cast forget his/her line, the specter of an impromptu ‘bridge’ to keep the whole thing moving along could make the ‘perfect’ actor freeze.

Judy also wrote.  She related that during one quick in-person read-through of a submission, the editor looked up from the page and commented approvingly, ‘You use semi-colons!’ and moved on.  Imagine semi-colons getting an author’s foot in the door.

Recently, I encountered “usen’t” for the first time.  For the usen’t novice, this link presents a quick primer.  I do wonder if usen’t mightn’t light up an editor’s face like semi-colons, in spite of the linked opinion that its use leads to ‘cafard, parochialism, censoriousness’.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the use of the word ‘cafard’ could lead to parochialism and censoriousness.

By the way, just a warning: autocorrect doesn’t like ‘usen’t’ one single bit. 

My brother informed me this morning that my friend Tony Austin has died at age seventy-five plus one day.

This posting will not be one of those Facebook things where old people start crossing off friends, you will know Tony from the maybe dozen times I have mentioned him here over the years, most recently with this post.

I lifted this photograph from the internet this morning in search of his obituary, this is his default facial expression I’d known over the years.  Time and distance has not protected me from this sadness at all.

Behold Yukio Mishima, strikingly au naturel, or as Stephen and I like to say in our in-house misuse, strikingly al dente.

I lifted this picture from a piece on ‘Yukio Mishima: The Death of a Man’ by Kishin Shinoyama.

We have a copy of the famous ’Ordeal by Roses’ by Eikoh Hosoe, but I confess that I am not very much fond of those photographs, which are not helped by the layout, which is a mess.

No complaint here, Mishima was atypically furry for a Japanese gentleman, according to those knowledgeable in these matters, including his biographer, Henry Scott-Stokes, whom we met in Toronto years ago.

I posted about that meeting — a victim (the post) of my great 2016 ‘blog purge’.  In that post, I also mentioned a Mishima short story recounting the suicide of two women in a greenhouse.

Writing then, that for whatever reason, the story ‘spoke to me’ (don’t be alarmed), I need to relocate it, or I’m going have to finally decide that I imagined the story myself (don’t be alarmed).

After this, I’m going to try very hard to stop posting photos of book covers…

This promised post would like to describe two people I encountered while in the Air Force stationed on Crete, surveilling North Africa in 1968 and 1969.

In my unit was a gentleman who was, the best way to describe, Auntie Mame, subdued at maybe fifty percent, but with flame still bright enough to warrant the remark to be quoted in just a bit.

Sgt. Sandy C was always attired in perfectly pressed uniforms, his cigaret perched at the very extreme tips of the two fingers holding it, hand absolutely erect.  Reacting to a funny remark, seldom just a laugh, rather head thrown back with a rapid-fire ha-ha-ha trill.

I could go on, but I think you will have conjured an image by now.  I don’t know if saying I enjoyed working with him is required, he was a a bundle of camp.  And he knitted.

He claimed to have a fiancée, as opposed to a fiancé, to return to back in South Carolina (I think), and I am as sure as I can be that it was true; if I thought of Sandy and betrothed after we parted company, I pictured happy sisters.

Which brings me to the second of the two folk I mentioned at the start.  I overheard once a passing exchange about Sgt. C.

A kid – ‘right out of central casting for a Forties bomber crew’ – opined: ‘I’m not saying the guy’s a fag, I just think he’d be happier if he was a dame.’

Essentially spot-on, kind not rude, and nigh enlightened.

Where are these people today?  I just hope they’re warm.

Now that I likely have your attention, I present a piece which I naturally hope you will enjoy — here, or click the illustration for the source.

Hopefully tomorrow, I will cobble together a paragraph or so relating an ‘unusual ambivalence’ overheard very many years ago while I was in the Air Force.


Yesterday, a copy arrived of ‘Mike Nichols: A Life’ by Mark Harris.  Mark Harris is Tony Kushner’s husband, I discovered.

I’ve been looking forward to this biography since I first got wind of it.  The last thing I read was ‘A Very Stable Genius’.   Enough doom.

I was introduced to Mike Nichols by my friend Tony (not Kushner…) in high school in the early Sixties by way of the LP (‘vinyl’…) recording ‘An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May’.

Interestingly enough, at about the same time, Tony also introduced me via vinyl* to the original Broadway production of Edward Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’, which would of course eventually become the first film Mike Nichols directed.

(*Phonograph record audio recordings of plays, I might as well be talking about papyrus.)

The last time I saw this Tony, years ago, after not having seen him for years, I mentioned how grateful I was for his many introductions in our teens of ‘matters’ of theater and music.  He seemed… bemused.

I have a real lack of talent for absorbing that people move on.

Here is a link to an excerpt of ‘Mike Nichols: A Life’.

On this occasion, allow me to cherry-pick Pete Townshend’s tune “1921”:

“Got a feeling ’21
Is going to be a good year
Especially if you and me
See it in together
I had no reason to be over-optimistic
But somehow, when you smiled
I could brave bad weather”


Here’s a New Year’s card I whipped up I-can’t-remember-how-long-ago.

Once upon a time, when I was a practicing… well, practicing anything, I started ‘mining’ photographs and prints by macro-photographing tiny areas of them to generate graphics for screen printing — which I was in fact practicing at the time.

I’d photographed this sundial image from a dictionary, one of those microscopic illustrations next to the definition.  A device requiring sunlight representing the approach to New Year’s Eve midnight: I thought that was awfully clever…

I succeeded in finding an example of my ‘technique’ that I’d posted previously, entitled ‘F_ck Me!’.  Dated 12/17/2016, curiosity enough, its message is accidentally apropos at the present juncture in the American political morass.

Happy Christmas and a premature (but so sincere) Happy New Year!

You and I both know I’m incapable of going full-Thumper, but in the wake of the previous post, I’ve decided to either make good on my ongoing threat to shutter, or alternatively, abandon gloom.

The second option pictured is also attractive…

Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but in October 2016, I ditched the previous posts in a fit of cyber housecleaning. Some of it was really nice writing, but alas, as my old friend Susan once said: ‘Compulsion is a cruel master’.

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